Here’s my page all about craps dice. That might not sound too interesting, but craps dice have come a long way over the years, and their history is pretty interesting; take it from the Guru.
Dice have been around in one form or another, almost as long as there have been people to make use of them. There is evidence of dice games being played by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and they were most likely around long before that. Originally, dice weren’t even cubes. The craps dice of today have gone through many changes to reach the state you’re familiar with.
The dice we know as craps dice are most closely related to knucklebones; specifically, those of a sheep. That’s because they are roughly square already. No one had to carve those little cubes out of wood or anything; they were basically ready to use. That’s why you sometimes still hear craps dice being referred to as “bones”, or hear the phrase “shake them bones”. But even before that, dice took on many shapes and sizes.
In ancient times, before cube-shaped dice became common, people would use things such as fruit stones (like peach pits), flat sticks with various types of marks carved into them, sea shells, nut shells and small stones for dice-type games. Some people think that ideas for the games came from watching witch doctors and shaman who would throw “dice” to find out about the future. At that time, the throwing of the dice was a much more serious business; the outcome believed to be controlled by the gods. Dice were used to choose kings, to predict the future, and to decide guilt or innocence. As a matter of fact, standard craps dice are still used in fortune telling today.
I’ve read that gambling, and dice-playing were favorite ways for the Romans to pass the time. There are even accounts of the young people being scolded for wasting too much time playing with dice, and not enough time on their chores. Well, some things never change! In fact, the earliest dice that resemble the craps dice of today were found near Rome, and were made around 900 B.C. They are the oldest known dice to have the opposite faces adding up to 7 (1+6, 2+5, 3+4) as we know them today. There were professional gamblers in ancient Rome too, and they even used loaded dice. Some of these early craps dice have been preserved in museums. By the way, the term “loaded dice” refers to dice that have been “fixed” in some way, in order to make certain outcomes more likely, taking away the element of chance or randomness.
So there you have it. Now that the Guru’s got you up to speed on the origins and history of craps dice, you’re well on your way (the way of the Guru). Feel free to wander around some more on this site, and learn all there is to learn about craps.